What is first-mile tracking and how does it impact customer satisfaction?
By Komal Puri | October 13, 2022
What is first-mile tracking?
First-mile tracking is the process of tracing the transportation of goods along the first leg of the supply chain. Examples of these complex processes are managing multiple locations for loading and unloading of deliveries, scheduling different drivers, and integrating several order ID numbers. Sometimes goods are brought to a warehouse prior to final delivery, and other times they are delivered directly to the customer, meeting their request for same-day delivery.
Managing First-mile Pickup Tracking Aides in Expanding Fulfillment Services
A customer’s experience relies heavily on how operations are managed. They should be kept in mind at every stage of the operations process. Ensuring repeat customers means gaining their trust by providing them with the options they desire. Their positive feedback comes when they feel their needs are in mind at each step of the logistics process.
E-commerce marketplaces often opt for handling the movement of their own truckloads to the warehouse, covering first-mile delivery on their own. This has become increasingly necessary as overwhelmed logistics providers remain unavailable. For retailers to stay competitive and uphold high standards of customer satisfaction, managing first-mile pickup efficiently has become essential. Fierce competition among e-commerce industries has increased the need to focus on first-mile tracking to expand and improve their services and to maintain a strong customer base.
Shifting Away from Manual Processes to Create Real-time Visibility
Traditionally, first-mile tracking has involved a lot of manual processing, including phone calls and managing paperwork. Given the fact that time slots can be very tight, the potential for human error or limitation can lead to unpredictable circumstances, leading to delivery failures. If a customer is expecting delivery at a certain time and it gets delayed, they will be unhappy with the delivery. Consumers provided with a way to access real-time visibility can track their packages and will be informed as to where the package is in transit.
Digital optimization of first-mile delivery logistic processes increases customer satisfaction. Making the switch from manual to digital processes may take time and appear overwhelming initially, but the long-term payoff is worth investing in whenever resources may be available.
First-mile tracking processes are crucial for managing dispatched goods. When items are delayed in transit, customer satisfaction plummets. Shippers need to be able to track dispatches from the warehouse in order to keep communications running smoothly with the consumer.
Overcoming Challenges in First-mile Tracking Processes
Because last-mile delivery often involves contacting the customer directly, it often becomes a primary point of focus. An unintended result of this is neglecting the importance of first-mile delivery. When we consider the need for transparency related to customer satisfaction, we understand the necessity of monitoring delivery processes on both ends. First-mile pick-up tracking is optimized when the right tools to provide visibility of end-to-end operations to the customer are implemented.
Some of the most easily identified and addressed areas of error involving first-mile tracking processes relate to packaging and labeling. The choice of packing method and materials tend to be overlooked but can make a big difference in improving customer experience. Lack of attention to these areas can result in unfortunate outcomes such as damaged goods. Dispatching packages that are improperly labeled leads to delays in deliveries. Implementing more advanced delivery tools and automating dispatching processes help businesses understand the best approaches to improvements in material handling.
Establishing a Solid First-mile Tracking System Positively Impacts Subsequent Stages
If poor visibility is present during first-mile delivery operations, the impact is seen on mid-mile and last-mile processes. Without this solid foundation, sub-par delivery experiences may result for the customer. When your company successfully implements updated digital solutions to the platform, movement of freight can be easily traced, mistakes in package handling are reduced, and delays can be managed. Setting up the first mile helps ensure success in the last-mile operations; a ripple effect.
Aside from customer satisfaction, implementing an updated first-mile tracking system lends itself to greater efficiencies that reduce cost. Adequate first-mile tracking synchronizes several delivery routes into one, reducing fuel expenditures. Optimum productivity regarding deliveries is also achieved.
You will find that many of the protocols you’ve utilized in last-mile delivery systems can be applied to updating first-mile processes, avoiding the need to re-learn and experiment in many cases. Examples include dispatch software and real-time tracking.
Automated First-mile Tracking Processes Maximize Your Resources
Route planning and sorting can be managed seamlessly along first-mile processes digitally through automation processes. Applying automated processes at loading and staging processes expands your company’s capability to deliver more contracts with shippers. When automated reports are readily available, resources on hand can be accurately assessed. When there is a shortage of supply, delivery capacity can also be adjusted according to your ability to fulfill the order.
End-to-end visibility is crucial in accessing the exact location of the delivery. Performances can be predicted and analyzed, subsequently eliminating errors and delays. Automated first-mile tracking can tell you in seconds whether the goods are in the warehouse or en-route. It also gives your company the ability to hold shippers accountable for product damages or losses that may occur.
Letting Your Customer Know That Their Experience Matters
Understanding your customer’s needs involves a certain degree of customized attention. To become a customer’s first choice, you will often need to compete with many logistics providers offering similar services in your region. Personal touches go a long way. Let your customer know you care about their experience and take the steps to demonstrate this.
One of the best ways to do this is by providing an opportunity for them to provide feedback and ratings. These need to be addressed one by one and negative experiences especially should be given adequate time for analysis. It is not simply a matter of an apology email or phone call; you need to show how you are fixing it.
Komal Puri is a seasoned professional in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the Senior Director of Marketing and a subject matter expert at FarEye, she has been instrumental in shaping the industry narrative for the past decade. Her expertise and insights have earned her numerous awards and recognition. Komal’s writings reflect her deep understanding of the industry, offering valuable insights and thought leadership.